Advertising is a crucial part of the lead generation puzzle. Some marketers suggest that you can do without the cost and low returns they attribute to advertising, but when done right, advertising is an invaluable tool.
The biggest thing that advertising has going for it over most other forms of lead generation is control. You can control who sees your ad to a point and you can control when your ad is run or sent.
The key to effective use of advertising lies in how you think about it, what your objectives are and how you adjust your approach in real time.
These are five elements that you should consider to make any form of advertising as effective as possible.
1. Lower your expectations
You don’t need to expect less in general, but you should probably be realistic about what an ad can do. The objective of your ads should be to move people from awareness to like and trust by having a small call to action that benefits them such as downloading a checklist or audio. The goal of just about all advertising should be to capture an email and start a relationship, not sell a product or service.
2. Cast narrowly
Most advertising, online and offline can be targeted at a narrowly defined viewer and this is a must. A radio station that tells you that 75% of its listeners are 18-55 isn’t narrow enough.
If you sell car seats, select parents on Facebook. Group your Google AdWords in very tightly crafted keyword groups to target people looking for very specific things. Find geo targeted mailing lists and then cross them with lists of people that buy a similar product.
3. Promote content
The way to drive the greatest advertising response is to give away something people want. Make content your call to action and capture leads and gently move them on to even more content as you introduce everything they need to know about why your products and services cost more than the rest of the market.
4. Measure everything
The most successful marketers can tell you exactly how every element of their marketing is performing and why. It takes a great deal of work to get serious about analytics and tracking, but you won’t really succeed until you do. You’ll either waste a great deal of money and fail or you’ll waste a great deal of money and limit your success.
5. Test everything
This last element goes hand in hand with measurement, but takes it a step further. Once you have a baseline you can start to work on improving your results by simply tweaking things like headlines, calls to offer, visual elements, keywords, content, publications and lists.
Once you know what’s working in one place you can expand to test it in other places. Google AdWords campaigns are relatively inexpensive and are great to test out headlines and landing pages before broadcasting more widely.
The online advertising space, particularly in social networks, is changing so rapidly that every new social network ad unit should be tested as it comes online, just to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t in this evolving space.